Professor Roger Sørheim was honoured and celebrated as a new Excellent Teaching Practitioner by NTNU. This is the first time a scholar at the department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management got this award.
By Meike Siefkes
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) awards its scholars with this honour for their clear and consistent focus on student learning in their teaching activities. Excellent teaching practitioners emphasise planning, implementing, assessing, and adapting their teaching practice in a way that best supports the students’ learning outcome. Excellent teaching practitioners have an inquiry-based approach to the development of their own teaching and programmes of study at NTNU. Pedagogical merit awards highlight the value of efforts to develop good teaching in higher education. Insight into the factors that improve students’ learning outcomes is important for work on the quality of education at NTNU. Teaching staff who work together and share valuable experience from their teaching are important in developing the programmes of study.
In November 2022, Engager Roger Sørheim was awarded this honour. We met him to talk about the significance of being honoured as an Excellent Teaching Practitioner.
Engage (E): Hi Roger, first of all: congratulations on being honoured as an Excellent Teaching Practitioner. Let me ask you this straightforwardly: Why did you get this award?
Roger Sørheim (RS): That is a good question; why did I get it? What was documented in the application was that I have been involved in a lot of activities that put the learner, so the student, into the focus. With activities that take the learner seriously, we continuously experiment, test, and try new things together. That is important for me: doing things together with the colleagues at the department and in later years at Engage and the NTNU School of Entrepreneurship. In general, the way of experimenting, actually testing out and then documenting the effect of what we are doing in entrepreneurship education, was highlighted in the decision to select me for this honour. This was an effort from more than one. It was a team effort to lift both the programme and later the Centre for Engaged Education through Entrepreneurship, Engage.
E: What role did Engage play on your journey to becoming an Excellent Teaching Practitioner?
RS: The backdrop is that we started the NTNU School of Entrepreneurship back in 2003. Back then, a venture creation programme like that was something very special and something that very few had heard about and tested. So it took some years until it got any recognition and traction. And then together with Øystein Widding, and later on other colleagues here at the department, we built quite a robust programme for entrepreneurship education. It became clear that elements of what we were doing at the School of Entrepreneurship could be adopted in other contexts and also further developed in other contexts. This goes into the direction of “entrepreneurship as a method”. We saw that this could be an opportunity for a centre of excellence in education (SFU).
E: What does it mean that you, a professor in entrepreneurship education, are the first in your department to be awarded this honour?
RS: Hopefully that we are doing something that is considered novel – and also something that works. It hopefully is a positive thing for the environment but also maybe an opportunity to spread the word to other departments, other professors, that could be inspired by what we are doing. And on the other hand, we could be inspired by what others are doing. Because we are becoming a part of a collegium that is determined to make good teaching and create good learning environments for the students. I think it is an opportunity for several more colleagues within Engage to apply and become honoured as an Excellent Teaching Practitioner.
E: What are the implications of this award? How does this award influence your next steps?
RS: Together with all the activities we are doing, we put entrepreneurship education even more on the agenda. But this is just one of the beneficial impacts of the honour. The award also confirms that our approach is a valid path to follow; maybe the award could be a little bit of help in creating legitimacy and bringing our vision into other environments, other departments, other faculties. But in general, I don’t think that this award itself revolutionizes anything. It is a confirmation that what we are doing is recognised as something useful.
E: Do you have any closing remarks?
RS: The most important take away: the teamwork made it happen.